Anaheim, CA /USA

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Bradie Tennell skates her way into the lead in the Ladies Short Program in Anaheim 2019©MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Bradie Tennell (USA) took a narrow lead in the Ladies event after the Short Program as the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019 opened in Anaheim (USA) Thursday. Following in second is defending champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan, with USA’s Mariah Bell in third place.

Tennell delivered a sharp performance to “Rebirth” by High Finesse that featured a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip, double Axel and level-four spins and footwork. The US silver medalist earned 73.91 points, a season’s best for her.

I’m extremely happy with how I did,” Tennell said. “It’s exactly how I train at home and what I wanted to do here, to go out there and trust myself and trust my training. I’d like to go out tomorrow (in the Free Skating) and skate like I did today, going for everything and really enjoying myself.

“I really want to sell my program, and skate the best I possibly can, with a clean program and achieve all my levels.”

Skating to “From My First Moment” by Charlotte Church, Sakamoto produced a triple flip-triple toeloop combination, a triple loop, double Axel as well as difficult spins and footwork for a season’s best of 73.36 points.

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Defending champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan is placed second 2019©MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

I went too sideways on the last spin, but other than that, I can say that my jumps were very good, so I am very satisfied with my performance,” the Japanese champion said. “The score showed my improvement, too.”

Bell’s routine to “To Love You More” by Celine Dion was highlighted by a triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination, a triple flip and double Axel. The national bronze medalist also recorded a season’s best, of 70.02 points.

“I just absolutely love this program and when the music comes on I get chills and I just love competing it,” she said.

“Throughout the season I haven't had a perfectly solid skate; I've had some clear under-rotations or a fall at NHK (Trophy) so just to put out a solid short program I was just really pleased with myself and I felt really good and in the moment and I was really excited with how the program was going.”

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Mariah Bell, seen here during the Skate Canada International last October, is in third place in Anaheim 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Lim Eunsoo (KOR) came fourth with a solid performance and remains close to the podium on 69.14 points.

ISU Grand Prix Final champion Rika Kihira (JPN) placed fifth after popping her planned triple Axel into a single (68.85 points). 

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) follows in sixth on 68.09 points. The 2017 Four Continents champion Mai Mihara (JPN) finished in eighth place after an error on her combination jump (65.15 points).

Click on the highlighted text for entry lists, full results and the official event website. Follow the discussion on social media using #4ContsFigure and #FigureSkating.